Tuesday, April 19, 2022 - April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and CASA for Children is raising awareness of the need for more dedicated members of the community to step up and become CASA volunteers.
CASA volunteers, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, are everyday people from all walks of life who are recruited and specially trained to advocate for abused and neglected children and to provide a consistent, reliable adult presence for them during a difficult time in their life.
“Foster care is only a temporary solution to the problems at hand.” said Suzanne Hughes, Executive Director at CASA for Children. “We need to create long term support networks that work to care for families, provide support, and help break the cycle for the next generation.”
CASA volunteers are assigned to one child or sibling group to advocate for their best interest in court, in school, and in other settings. They get to know the child and everyone involved in their life - parents and other family members, foster parents, therapists, case workers, and teachers - in order to develop a realistic picture of the child’s unique situation.
Volunteers engage those important to the child and their family, in order to build a network of support around them, so that the family has access to support and resources even after the case ends. Volunteers make recommendations to the judge overseeing the child’s case with the goal of ensuring the child is safe and the family has the resources, support, and healthy relationships needed to heal.
Last year 100 volunteers served 262 children throughout the four counties served by CASA for Children, but the need is great for additional volunteers to step up and help children in need.
“There is always a need for more CASA volunteers,” said Hughes. “By becoming a volunteer you can take your efforts beyond just awareness and do your part to help support children and families in crisis right here in our community.”
CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and backgrounds, but all have one thing in common - a passion for helping children. They are appointed to advocate for a child’s best interests and get to know the child personally. Volunteers speak with everyone in the child’s life including social workers, foster parents, therapists, and more, so that they can make well-informed and holistic recommendations to the court.
“We at CASA for Children always hope for the day when CASA, foster care, and a national month dedicated to child abuse prevention are no longer needed,” said Hughes. “Until then, we will continue to seek more members of the community to join our growing movement so that we can provide a CASA volunteer for every child who needs one.”
Are you interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer? Classes are forming now in Muskogee, Wagoner, Sequoyah, and McIntosh Counties. For more information, visit www.casaok.org or contact Jenny Crosby at 918-686-8199 or via email email@example.com.
KXMX Staff Writer
For more news stories stay tuned to The MIX 105.1 or visit www.kxmx.com